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FOOD INC., a story to turn your stomach

 Posted by on June 15, 2009
Jun 152009

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

The movie FOOD, INC. opened this past weekend in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

It’s not the first film to tackle the problems of our industrial food complex. Indies like Chris Taylor’s Food Fight (2008) and King Corn (2007) a handful of few bigger releases, like Fast Food Nation (2006) have been chipping away at this story for a few years now.

But FOOD INC. arrives at a time when the American public seems primed for the message in ways it wasn’t before: We better recognize today that our mass-produced food is threatening our vitality and tearing up the arable land we need; that food that’s been processed beyond recognition has also been stripped of nutrients; that packaging can’t substitute for flavor and that local food often tastes better it has a lower environmental cost (OK, not everyone gets that last point, yet).

This Magnolia Pictures release, headed right for major theaters across the country starting this weekend, could tip us into rebellion. It’s got great early reviews, and it aspires to start a movement. Perhaps this film that promises to show us the “underbelly” of industrial agriculture – and took six years to create – will be so eye-opening we’ll start on a healthier path (soon as we’re done eating some cheap meat for the 4th of July!).

Producer/director Robert Kenner and co-producer Eric Schlosser have the right idea. It is time the American consumer gets a look behind the scenes. Early indications are that some of the material will make your next visit to the grocery a scary one. And getting queasy might be a necessary first step (you know, like with AA, acknowledging the problem). We’ll just have to see if Americans swallow it.

Meantime, FOOD INC. offers these “Ten Simple Things You Can Do” to get started.

1. Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages.
You can lose 25 lbs in a year by replacing one 20 oz soda a day with a no calorie beverage (preferably water).
2. Eat at home instead of eating out.
Children consume almost twice (1.8 times) as many calories when eating food prepared outside the home.
3. Support the passage of laws requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards. Half of the leading chain restaurants provide no nutritional information to their customers.
4. Tell schools to stop selling sodas, junk food, and sports drinks.
Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years.
5. Meatless Mondays-Go without meat one day a week. An estimated 70% of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to farm animals.
6. Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticides. According to the EPA, over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the U.S.
7. Protect family farms; visit your local farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets allow farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer.
8. Make a point to know where your food comes from-READ LABELS.
The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to your dinner plate.
9. Tell Congress that food safety is important to you. Each year, contaminated food causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths in the U.S.
10. Demand job protections for farm workers and food processors, ensuring fair wages and other protections. Poverty among farm workers is more than twice that of all wage and salary employees.

I would add that you could also:

11. Grow some of your own food, and teach your kids how to do the same. It’s frugal and it TASTES BETTER.
12. Clue in to fiber. It keeps you de-toxified.
13. And about those Meatless Mondays. Consider adding a few more meatless days, but do it like real vegetarians, adding protein-rich beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, brown rice and whole grains instead of just subtracting the meat.

Copyright © 2009 Green Right Now | Distributed by Noofangle Media